Through the night last night we could hear weird noises that kept waking us up. We could hear different animals like dogs howling, geckos, birds and an annoying rooster. It started crowing before we went to bed but then didn't really do it much all night until 4am when it was cockadoodledooing until we got up. It clearly had it's time mixed up and was confused as the sun didn't rise until about half 6-7!! We could also hear a scratching noise on the hut through the night. We left the balcony light on and I kept expecting to see a shadow of someone or something stood in the window when I opened my eyes! It was pretty freaky!
We had breakfast included with the accommodation which was fried eggs, toast, jam, hot sausages, fruit and a hot drink. We couldn't complain at all! Went down a treat! We decided last night that we wouldn't hire scooters anymore as we asked at a few shops and they all said that you needed your passport, not a copy, the original, to leave with them. We discussed it and decided that we weren't comfortable with it, especially so close to flying too and we just weren't willing to give someone our passport. The risks of what could go wrong from hiring a scooter outweighed the benefits and fun aspect for us! We decided we would hire mountain bikes instead and if we couldn't really get to anything that we wanted to see on the map because of the massive hills then we would just book a trip tomorrow and have a ride about on the bikes today.
We found the mountain bike shop and just had to leave a driving license with them which wasn't as bad. The bikes were definitely worth some money and were really good mountain bikes- plus we only paid £2 each to hire them for 24 hours. He had to go get a baby one out of the back for me! He gave us a map of the two different routes you could follow if you wanted to see all the sights around Pai. He said it wasn't difficult, just up and down, but we really didn't know what to expect.
We ended up doing at least a 16 mile bike ride in about 34-36 degree heat! We set out just after 10.30am and got back just before 4pm. We made a really good day of it and loved it! It was the most challenging day I've had so far but one of the most rewarding and worthwhile! So glad we decided to hire the mountain bikes instead. We saw so much and were able to really enjoy the sights, taking it easy going by everything and riding past the mountains instead of blasting past on a scooter. If we were on a scooter we would have probably done the trip in about an hour and it wouldn't have been no where near as fun!
We stopped at different sights on the way as well as stopping so I could catch my breath and not die on the spot! I felt so unfit as Nath was clearly better than me but I was still very proud of myself as I never imagined I would be able to cycle anything like that! The route was pretty hilly, up and down and up and down. The down bits were brilliant! We picked up some right speed! All of the stops were sights to go to in Pai and were marked on the map so other people were doing it too, just not on mountain bikes! Some people looked at us like we were crazy and some even laughed as they rode past on their scooter, but we were loving life! On our ride we first stopped at Coffee in Love, a famous coffee shop and viewpoint across to the mountains. It didn't take us long at all to cycle up the first killer hill to it so we decided not to stop for a coffee, just water and more water!
The next place we stopped wasn't on the map but Nath spotted a sign for a viewpoint so we pulled over. It was called the container and it was another coffee shop, in the shape of a big metal container. It had brilliant views, although it was a bit misty. There were loads of big swinging chairs (the ones in a shape of half an egg). There were two floors of them looking out so we got an iced coffee and relaxed in the chairs for a while appreciating the views! On the map it showed a waterfall that didn't look too far, but then again the map wasn't to scale. The waterfall wasn't included in the bike route on the map though so we didn't have the slightest clue at all how far it would be off the main road but we thought we would give it a go. I thought I saw a sign saying 4km so we set off on our way. There were some big enough hills going down, which we would need to come back up! And some very big hills going up, which were such a challenge!! This was the part I thought I may collapse! We cycled for about 4km before I decided we should turn around. We saw two other cyclists who said they thought we were about half way. I just didn't have it in me to go any further and the hills looked like they were only getting bigger! We've seen enough waterfalls ha! Plus I think people that cycle or go there might go there for most of the day but we just wanted to see it and I think going there and then all the way back and then having to cycle the rest of the route would have been too much and taken too much time, especially with me stopping to hyperventilate every so often!
We cycled back down the hills we had tirelessly climbed, wind in our hair, picking up some good speeds! It felt amazing! We got back to the main road and back on route and cycled to Love Strawberry @ Pai. They had a strawberry farm here so they had their famous strawberry smoothies to try which were lovely! We sat and had lunch here looking out to the view of the mountains. Everything here, as well as the rest of Pai, was very cheesy with everything saying I love Pai. They had bicycle ornaments to take photos in, rabbits in big open cages, everything was a photo opportunity! Very hippy like too! They had a shooting game and a knock the can down game which we had a go at. Nath had three goes as he couldn't accept defeat, but still didn't win!
After lunch we went to Pai Canyon- it's suppose to be Pai's version of the Grand Canyon but I don't really think they can compare. It was still really good though. We parked our bikes up and then had to walk up some stairs through the greenery to the top of the hill. We were already very high up on the road as we had rode up quite a bit of hill! The canyon had the mountains in the background and looked out to the surrounding valley and countryside so it had some brilliant views! The 'path'/narrow sand ridges on the top of the rocks was scary in parts to get to bigger areas at the top of the canyon. You could walk around many ridges at the top of it, but there was no health and safety in place so you could easily fall from a great height if you lost your footing. I'm sure I'm getting better with heights. I didn't have a panic attack or start crying or anything! I even sat near- but not too near- the edge to get a good photo. The risks I'd take for a good photo! Ha.
Next on the map was Pai Memorial Bridge. It was kind of like Kanchanburi's death railway bridge just not on the same scale. It was built again by the Japanese. It was pretty old and worn and felt like it may go through in places, but that didn't stop the hundreds of tourists every day, including us! The bridge was the last stop and the furthest you go out of Pai centre on the route. The way back was along a different main road, again with some downhill area and some cycling back up! On the way back we passed large areas of forest, some of which was burnt. You can see this happening on the hillside on a night. We are unsure what the reason is for this though! There were hot springs in the forest but we decided to not pay to go to them as we had seen some on our other trip. We passed 3 elephant camps along the side of the road too. We were just riding along, turn a corner and bam a big elephant right in front of our faces! You don't get that anywhere other than Thailand!
The route brought us back near our huts but we carried on down the road to a bar that overlooked the mountains and sat and had a drink there for a while on their lovely hippy seats (cushions on the floor). We caught up with Claire and Arron over Skype and showed off our views and skyped Amy and the kids too which was lovely!
Later we headed back and chilled at our hut and had a couple more drinks until the sun had set. We rode our bikes back into town to bring them back- good job there's no drink drive limit on push bikes (we don't think)! We walked around the market and then had dinner and drinks at a restaurant at the top of walking street which had stools looking out on to the street. I was a little bit tipsy by this point but the food brought me round! We went to two bars after and had couple more drinks. Pai was very quiet. Just people relaxing in bars but they weren't too busy so it was nice. We headed home about midnight and noticed on the way back that quite a lot of places had already shut. I, being my tipsy self, spoke in a rasta voice all the way home!